Plasticity of feeding behaviour traits in response to production environment (temperate vs. tropical) in group-housed growing pigs.

TitlePlasticity of feeding behaviour traits in response to production environment (temperate vs. tropical) in group-housed growing pigs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsPoullet, N, Rauw, WM, Renaudeau, D, Riquet, J, Giorgi, M, Billon, Y, Gilbert, H, Gourdine, J-L
JournalSci Rep
Date Published2022 Jan 17

Heat stress affects pig metabolism, health and welfare, resulting in reduced growth and important economic losses. The present experiment aimed to evaluate the effects of two climatic environments [temperate (TEMP) vs. tropical humid (TROP)] on feeding behaviour in growing pigs. The feeding behaviour traits were measured with automated feeders and included: daily feed intake, daily eating time, feeding rate, daily number of meals, feed intake per meal, and feeding time per meal. Pigs came from a backcross population between Large White (LW, heat sensitive) and Creole (CR, heat tolerant) pigs. The same 10 F1 LW × CR boars (sire families [SF]) were mated with related LW sows in each environment. Feeding behaviour was recorded for a total of 1,296 pigs (n = 634 pigs for TEMP and n = 662 pigs for TROP) between 11 and 23 weeks of age. Growth performance and thermoregulatory responses (rectal and skin temperatures) were also measured. Results show that TROP conditions affect feeding behaviour traits: animals had more meals per day but these meals were smaller both in duration and in size, resulting in lower daily feed intake and less time eating per day. Significant SF by environment (GxE) interactions were found for all feeding behaviour traits. When SF were distributed into robust and sensitive groups (previously defined according to performance and thermoregulatory traits), results showed group by environment interactions for all feeding traits, except meal frequency. Moreover, a significant difference in feeding rate between robust and sensitive group was detected in TEMP, suggesting that feeding rate may be a good candidate to evaluate heat tolerance.

Alternate JournalSci Rep
PubMed ID35039563
PubMed Central IDPMC8764086
Grant ListANR-12-ADAP-0015 / / French National Agency of Research /